Static vs. Dynamic Antitrust: A Reply

June 2019

NORTH AMERICA COLUMN BANNER

Static vs. Dynamic Antitrust: A Reply By John M. Yun (George Mason University)1

Sanjukta Paul and Hal Singer (P&S) responded to my recent CPI Comment, “News Media Cartels are Bad News for Consumers,”2 which addressed the likely harm that would arise from the proposed Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, if passed. P&S criticize my conclusion that the legislation would likely harm competition and consumers on a variety of grounds. In this short reply, I address their central points and demonstrate that our disagreement largely, but not completely, arises from P&S restricting their analysis to a static view of markets and antitrust.3

First, P&S assert that “[h]istorically, a rigid stance against horizontal coordination beyond firm boundaries is relatively new.”4 P&S assert further that legislators at the time of the Sherman Act, and even Senator Sherman himself, all contemplated and supported some forms of coordination. Even taking these assertions at face value, this appeal to static, historical statements taken in the late 1800s is immaterial to the economic analysis and the fundamental question of whether or not legalizing a news media cartel — that is legislatively allowed to nakedly fix prices and exclude organizations and sites that are not deemed “news content creators” — would be beneficial to society.5

Further, this plea to legislative intent is in line with the latest version of old arguments to overturn the …

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